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Arjuna Ranatunga out on bail after shooting incident

Arjuna Ranatunga said his security officials shot at a mob that was intent on killing him AFP

Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga was arrested after he was involved in a shooting that killed one and injured two others in Colombo on Sunday, during Sri Lanka's unfolding political crisis. He has since been swiftly produced before the Colombo magistrate, and was subsequently released on bail.

Ranatunga had said his security detail had discharged their weapons in order to protect him from a mob that was intent on killing him, at the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) offices. He had to be extracted later from the premises by Special Task Force - elite police - officers.

But after almost 24 hours of pressure from a CPC trade union, which had threatened a fuel strike, Ranatunga was arrested on Monday afternoon.

Ranatunga, who was the country's Minister for the Development of Petroleum Resources, said he was attempting to retrieve belongings from the CPC offices, when it was surrounded by a mob aligned with the opposite political party. "They came to kill me - I state this responsibly - and you can check the CCTV footage," Ranatunga said following the clash. "For the first time, I feared for my life. I thought of my children and my family."

After Ranatunga was dressed in a helmet and camouflage, and escorted from the premises by the Special Task Force, dozens of regular police were deployed in order to pacify a still-agitated crowd.

The three wounded had been taken to hospital but the news of one of the men, aged 34, succumbing to his injuries prompted a demand over Ranatunga's arrest from the trade union.

Ranatunga first stood for office in 2001, and has held various cabinet portfolios since. He is a member of the United National Party, whose leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe, is in the midst of the ongoing political wrangle.